Congress vows to fight back in Kerala solar scam case
Bengaluru: The opposition Congress party in Kerala sought to fight back on Thursday, a day after the state’s ruling Left Front government ordered an investigation into about a dozen Congress party leaders including former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy in what’s come to be called the solar scam.
Ramesh Chennithala, Congress party’s second-most senior leader and opposition leader, was quoted in the website of local newspaper Mathrubhumi as saying that the party will fight the cases politically and legally. He said according to convention, the commission report should have been presented in the assembly first.
The All India Congress Committee has asked Chennithala and Chandy to fly to Delhi to discuss the developments, said senior Congress leaders, adding that they will meet top office-bearers including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the coming days.
The scandal refers to a case that came to light during the tenure of the previous government, in which several Congress politicians were linked to a company that duped investors in claiming to be installing solar panels and tried to secure government projects.
When the company’s founders were arrested, they spilled the names of several politicians, and a judicial commission was set up to investigate the case. Based on its findings, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday ordered the investigation.
The probe was announced to influence a state byelection next week, he alleged. Referring to allegations by Sarita Nair, one of the accused in the scandal, Chennithala said she has been accused in 33 cases and hence could not be trusted.
Meanwhile, Chandy’s close aide and legislator K.C. Joseph petitioned assembly speaker P. Sreeramakrishanan alleging breach of legislative privilege in making parts of the report public.
Chandy has also moved a right to information petition before the chief secretary to secure a copy of the full report, and told reporters in Kerala that he will quit politics if even a fraction of the charges against him were proven. People close to Chandy told Mint, on conditions of anonymity, that the party is also looking at legal options to get hold of the full report and avert arrests if any.